Compiled By: Rtn Gangaram S. Purswani (PHF)
Sorath Rai Diyach (Sindhi: سورٺ راءِ ڏياچ) is one of the historical romantic tales from Sindh, Pakistan. The story also appears in Shah Jo Risalo and forms part of seven popular tragic romances from Sindh, Pakistan.
SORATH RAI DIYACH
King Rai Diyach, ruler of Junagadh, had a childless sister. After many prayers, one saint finally blessed her and said she would have a son; however, this son was destined to kill her illustrious brother. “What use is a son if he is to cause the death of my brother?” thought the disappointed lady, but eventually, she did give birth. The saint reminded her of the prophecy, and steeling herself, she put the child in a basket and set it afloat in the river. The basket reached the kingdom of King Annirai, where a shepherd named Damo found it. Damo and his wife, who were childless, brought up the baby as their own, naming him Beejal (Water’s gift). Beejal grew up and became adept as grazing the family’s animals; he was also a master of musical instruments.
Meanwhile, a baby girl was also born to the ruler Annirai, who already had sixty daughters. So this unwanted child was put into a basket and set afloat, where she reached Rai Diyach’s kingdom. A potter named Ratno found the child, and brought her up, naming the girl Sorath.
Annirai heard of Sorath’s unmatched beauty, and approached the potter for the girl’s hand in marriage. The potter readily agreed. As the marriage procession made its way to Annirai, the ruler (Rai Diyach) learned of this and felt insulted that his subject, the potter, was marrying the girl to Annirai; instead, he forcibly married Sorath himself.
A humiliated Annirai attacked Junagadh, and while he was repulsed by the armies of Rai-Diyach, he issued a proclamation with a plateful of jewels – “Whoever brings me the head of Rai Diyach will be entitled to these gems”. Beejal’s wife was confident that her husband would succeed in this mission, but Beejal, a musician, refused to demean his art through such an ignoble deed. He had no option, however, because if he refused to do Annirai’s bidding, his whole family would be wiped off. So with a heavy heart he went to Junagadh and played his instrument through the night.
The entranced Rai Diyach was so enamoured that he granted him a wish, only to be told that Beejal would be satisfied only if he had the king’s head in a bag. The courtiers, and his own tearful Sorath, pleaded with him but Beejal was unmoved and the king kept his word. Before giving his head, he said:
“If I had millions of heads on my shoulder,
I would behead myself millions of times over,
That also be not measure to the ecstasy of your string!”
As Beejal took Rai Diyach’s head to Annirai, the king was horrified and banished him from the kingdom with the words: “For your avarice, if you could do this to Rai Diyach, what fate awaits me in your hands!” Beejal, filled with remorse, rushed back to Junagadh and flung himself into the pyre where Sorath was committing sati, thus paying with his life.
Rai Diyach, Sorath and Beejal had all perished; Beejal’s wife, who had been attracted by the jewels, was widowed and gave up everything to lead the life of a beggar.
This story tells of the generosity of Rai Diyach, the power of Beejal’s art, Sorath’s sacrifice and the avarice of a woman who wanted jewels without considering the price to be paid. It also speaks of the popularity of Rai Diyach and the love that the people of Junagadh showered upon him.